58474_red_wings_blues_hockey-johanfranzen

Franzen’s hat trick leads to goalie Hammond’s NHL debut

Ottawa Senators goaltender Andrew Hammond’s dream is coming true tonight as he made his NHL debut, but he probably didn’t think it would happen like this.

The 26-year-old netminder with 33 games worth of AHL experience entered the contest as Robin Lehner’s understudy because Craig Anderson is with his family for the birth of his child. Under normal circumstances, Nathan Lawson might have gotten the call over Hammond, but as TSN’s Steve Lloyd noted, Lawson had just returned from an injury.

Warming the bench was expected to be the highlight of Hammond’s stint with the team, but Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen had other plans.

Franzen beat Lehner three times tonight and the Senators goaltender allowed six goals on just 15 shots before he was mercifully pulled 25:04 minutes into the contest.

This was Franzen’s first hat trick since Nov. 8, 2011. It also continues his trend of dominating the Senators. He now has 12 goals in roughly eight and a half games against Ottawa, including his stunning five-goal night on Feb. 2, 2011.

Franzen (concussion) optimistic about returning Wednesday

Johan Franzen

Johan Franzen couldn’t play for Sweden in the 2014 Winter Games because of a concussion that’s plagued him since mid-December, but he was able to join the rest of the Red Wings’ non-Olympians last week.

He had already been feeling good for weeks before Detroit resumed its practices, but cautioned on Dec. 19 that his symptoms tend to manifest when he subjects himself to game-like situations. However, after as we draw closer to the Red Wings’ first game back on Wednesday, it looks increasingly likely that Franzen will be in the lineup.

“It’s been pretty good,” Franzen told the Detroit News. “I am optimistic (about returning Wednesday).”

Detroit could certainly use all the help they can get after Henrik Zetterberg underwent back surgery.

They might also get back defenseman Jakub Kindl and forward Stephen Weiss in the near future.

Franzen practicing, hopes to return by Olympic break’s end

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 10: Johan Franzen #93 of the Detroit Red Wings skates with the puck during a NHL game against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on December 10, 2013 in Sunrise, Florida.
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Johan Franzen hasn’t been able to participate in Sweden’s Olympic run due to a concussion sustained on Dec. 15, but the time off might have done him some good.

He resumed practicing with the other non-Olympians on Detroit’s roster on Wednesday and hopes to rejoin the Red Wings’ lineup immediately following the break, according to the Detroit Free Press.

That being said, he’s not sure if he’s out of the woods yet. While he isn’t experiencing much in the way of symptoms, that’s been the case throughout most of his recovery. The problems start to arise when he gets into game-like situations with a lot of movement.

“Even if I felt good the last two weeks without doing anything, it doesn’t really mean anything,” Franzen said. “I gotta get a few practices in to see how I really feel.”

The Red Wings have been hit hard by injuries throughout the season and they recently suffered another major blow when Henrik Zetterberg‘s Olympics ended due to a back injury.

That being said, in addition to Franzen, Detroit might have Stephen Weiss and Jakub Kindl back when the break ends.

Switching Wings: Nyquist to replace Franzen on Swedish Olympic team

Gustav Nyquist
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On Monday, the Swedish national team replaced one Detroit forward with another.

Gustav Nyquist was named as an injury replacement for the concussed Johan Franzen, according to the Detroit Free Press. That makes it 11 Red Wings named to their respective national teams for the Winter Olympics in Sochi: Nyquist, Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk (Russia), Tomas Jurco (Slovakia), Tomas Tatar (Slovakia), Jonas Gustavsson (Sweden), Jonathan Ericsson (Sweden), Niklas Kronwall (Sweden), Daniel Alfredsson (Sweden), Henrik Zetterberg (Sweden) and Jimmy Howard (United States).

Nyquist, 24, has been in fine form as of late, notching a hat trick and an assist in a 5-4 OT loss to Washington on Sunday. Nyquist now has 12 points in his last eight games and 22 in 30 this season.

A fourth-round pick by Detroit at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, Nyquist made the Swedish team as an injury replacement over the likes of Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist and Washington’s Marcus Johansson, both of whom were shortlisted to take Franzen’s spot.

Report: Franzen (concussion) to miss Olympics

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Detroit forward Johan Franzen — currently sidelined with a concussion — won’t be able to play for Sweden at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, according to various reports.

Swedish head coach Par Marts announced the news, per EliteProspects, and a decision will be made shortly as to who will take Franzen’s place. “The Mule” was one of 14 forwards selected to the team in early January and, according to IIHF scribe Risto Pakarainen, Sweden’s list of replacement forwards includes Nashville’s Patric Hornqvist, Washington’s Marcus Johansson and Franzen’s Detroit teammate, Gustav Nyquist.

As for Franzen, already being ruled out of the Olympics can’t bode well for his long-term health. On Sunday, he returned from a 16-game absence to play in a shootout loss to Florida, but was put back on injured reserve with concussion-like symptoms following the game.

Franzen, who had been out since Dec. 15, played quite a bit against the Panthers — 16:45 TOI — and registered an assist while finishing minus-1. Head coach Mike Babcock was forced to use Franzen at center because fellow Swede Henrik Zetterberg was a late scratch (lower-body), something the Wings’ bench boss wasn’t happy about.

“You come to the rink hopeful [Zetterberg is] going to play,” Babcock said, per Fox Sports Detroit. “Because we didn’t have morning skate we didn’t know. Then we got the news and went from there. We would have liked (Johan) Franzen not to play in the middle his first game back.

“When you’re a winger and you got go in the middle it’s great when you’ve played and you got tempo and you’re in the kind of game shape you want to be. But that’s part of life.”

Sweden is surely concerned about its health heading into Sochi. Franzen has already been ruled out; Zetterberg and Henrik Sedin are both sidelined by injury and Alex Steen is dealing with a fractured toe.